Over the past year-and-a-half, students and administrators have been working together in the First-Generation, Low-Income (FGLI) Committee to address gaps of resources for underrepresented students on campus. (You can read a more detailed interview about the history of the FGLI Committee here.) I’ve been involved with the committee since it was created the spring of my first-year in 2017, and have focused on both financial aid initiatives and academic accessibility via the Office for Equity and Inclusion.
A topic of conversation was the financial aid application process itself, and how it’s stressful waiting until late June/July to find out your financial aid package. As it stood, the deadline for all documents was May 15th, just after the CSS Profile closes. However, due to some changes to the documentation required in the application, Wesleyan’s financial aid office now creates our packages from the previous year’s tax forms (i.e. 2017), rather than the current year’s (i.e. 2018).
Because moving the deadline up doesn’t affect the availability of the necessary tax forms, the financial aid office decided to push the deadline four months up to January 15th, 2019 so they can receive all information faster and give us notification earlier. When searching through my emails, I ~discovered~ that this was announced in November, with some subsequent reminders of the new date.
Six months ago, I posted that a newly conceived Student Budget Sustainability Task Force, the brainchild of WSA President Zachary Malter ’13, would be forming in the fall of 2012 and eventually articulating formal recommendations to President Roth and the Board of Trustees. Malter pieced together the concept quickly in the wake of widespread opposition to a need-aware Wesleyan.
As promised, the student-run committee has “worked extensively to evaluate the suitability of the recent move to a capped financial aid budget and need-aware admissions policy,” and the members have formulated a memorandum to the committee explaining their process thus far and the specific proposals that are under consideration. These aren’t their formal recommendations. Rather, the task force writes, “it is meant to spark conversation and debate before our final report.”
On President Malter’s request, I’m reposting the memorandum in full. You can also find it in PDF form here.
Cool update from Corey Guilmette ’13, who has previously been honored for his involvement in responsible investing, and the rest of the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility: Wesleyan is investing $500,000 from the university’s General Operating Account into local community banks. This is part of wider CIR efforts to help Wesleyan pursue more socially responsible investment practices. More detail (no joke) about these investments—and what it took to make them happen—from Guilmette on behalf of the CIR below:
The Wesleyan Finance Office in coordination with the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility (CIR) is preparing to renew two, 6-month Certificates of Deposit (CDs) totaling $500,00 deposited in Liberty Bank and the Community’s Bank of Bridgeport. The $500,000 investment came from Wesleyan’s General Operating Account (essentially a big bank account Wesleyan uses to pay for day-to-day expenses).
The university has moved $250,000 into both Liberty Bank (Middletown, CT) and the Community’s Bank (Bridgeport, CT), which were chosen by the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility (CIR) as the two banks near Wesleyan most committed to serving disadvantaged communities. Wesleyan’s initial investment is one of the largest among the very small group of universities nationwide that have made similar investments. This initiative is part of a series of efforts undertaken by the CIR to help Wesleyan pursue more socially responsible investment practices.
Remember that Student Budget Sustainability Task Force you first heard about this summer? It’s real, it’s here, and it’s now. Zachary Malter ’13, President of the WSA, sends in the full list of our saviors via A-Batte:
- Zachary Malter ’13, Co-Chair, zmalter(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Andrew Trexler ’14, Co-Chair, atrexler(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Rachel Warren ’14, rwarren(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Chi Le ’13, lle(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Alex Japko ’14, ajapko(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Jesse Ross-Silverman ’13, jrosssilverm(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Lina Mamut ’13, pmamut(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Michael Linden ’15, mlinden(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
- Kevin Aritt ’13, karitt(at)wesleyan(dot)edu
As I understand it, the Task Force is looking for long-term, sustainable solutions that would allow the University to move back to need-blind admissions. If you have suggestions, contact them! The University has already made serious cuts in spending over the past few years, and the administration does not believe there are others they can make without making the quality of the Wesleyan experience suffer. But perhaps they missed something? Maybe something left should not be as much of a priority? Or there’s some entirely different alternative? Tell ’em.
If you want to tell “The Man” himself, President Roth will be coming to Wesleying‘s Forum on Need Blind tonight at 8PM in PAC 002. And don’t forget, there’s always the comments.
WSA president calls for student task force on need-blind changes, blasts “Token Transparency”
When President Roth met with concerned students last month regarding Wesleyan’s move away from need-blind admissions, he expressed a firm willingness to consider student proposals and hear out alternative solutions. In a provocative recent post on the WSA blog, President Zachary Malter ’13 accepts the challenge, calling on Roth to rise “beyond token transparency”—in short, to give students a legitimate voice in policy-making before finalizing any measures. At the heart of Malter’s proposal is the creation of a student task force—the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force—to take on the role.
Malter begins by outlining Roth’s proposal, then articulating the core reasons so many oppose it: in short, “how can Wesleyan criticize and challenge socio-economic inequality, if its admissions policy reinforces that very inequality by offering an advantage to students from wealthier families?” The popular retort is that it is merely a “necessary evil,” that there is no better alternative. Malter, among others, is not so sure—in large part because the budgetary details have not been made available:
Whether there is more room for cost-savings and revenue generation that does not significantly compromise the quality of education remains an open question. President Roth claims that the administration has already made all the possible cuts of inessentials and has already explored all the possible revenue generating options. But what if students had the chance to brainstorm cost-saving measures and give direct budget input?